IV Asian Claretian Missionary Encounter
By Mario Bonfaini, cmf.
After a few months of suspension of the meeting for local reasons, I listen with joy the updated of the IV Asian Missionary Encounter in Sri Lanka. To see our Brothers Missionaries of Asia and listen about their progress of apostolic work was giving me many expectations from this encounter.
It has been a pretty busy experience from the very beginning to the end but fruitful; well organized and joyful.
Arrived in the very late hours in the night, I appreciated the kindness of our Claretian Brothers to come to fetch us at the Airport at such inconvenient time.
The encounter was open with the Concelebration presided by the Rt. Rev. Kingsly Swampillai, Bishop of Trinko-Batticaloa in the Chapel of the recently inaugurate St. Claret Minor Seminary, Daluwakottawa, near Colombo. (02 of May 2002).
Then in the open session the Bishop briefed us about the political and religious situation of Sri Lanka and the work of the Local Church in its different levels. The main theme of the encounter was “reading of the Word of God in the Asian Context”.
Leading us in our reflections were two speakers;
– The Rev. Fr. S. Arckiaswami, S.J. an Indian Theologian sharing with us the need to incarnate our theology in life and mission in order to be effective in our ministry. “…it is in solidarity with people that we discover who God for us is”.
– The Rev. Fr. Thomas Vijay, SAC presented us some concrete methods of Gospel sharing that make people realize the needs to listen carefully the Word of God and share it with others.
The main work has been “the presentations” of the six major organisms: situation, apostolic work and sharing experiences, particularly in reading and transmitting the Word at any level of the society.
Our meetings were also been refreshing with local cultural entertainment and on the fifth of May we could join the Sunday Mass with the parishioners of St. Anna’ Church in Colombo, on care of Claretians: indeed a wonderful experience.
I am grateful for the warm hospitality of our Brothers in Sri Lanka during our entire Encounter and to have given us an opportunity in the end to visit our Claretian residences and other cultural places.
May I give thanks, of course, to the organizers of the Encounter: Fr Maria Arul, Vicar General; Fr Joseph M. Abella, General Prefect of Apostolate…and those “on the back of the stage” have been working hard to make successful and fruitful our IV Asian Missionary Encounter.